They’re putting the band back together.
No, it’s not Jake and Elwood Blues careening through Chicago to reunite “The Blues Brothers” in that namesake film, but rather the Frederick High School Band, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a free concert on Saturday.
The idea and planning for the concert began about seven years ago, said Kevin Lewis, band and choral director at Frederick High School since 2004. It is modeled after a similar performance held for the 75th anniversary, he said.
The oldest member of the band is from the Class of 1959, but it has participants through the current class, Lewis said. There are about 60 members in the band.
The band had a special piece of music commissioned for the anniversary, but the rest of the selections are from the various eras represented, he said.
“We’re like a band family coming together and reminiscing and making music,” he said. “We actually are doing some of the selections we did at the 75th — most of them are medleys of different eras.”
The band has been rehearsing every other week since February, holding about eight rehearsals to get ready for the show.
“Getting the word out is the most difficult part, getting in contact with the alumni,” he said. “We had quite a few rehearsals so people could attend. It’s been a great experience for the alumni brushing off their horns, and also playing with some of their friends who are still active.”
For some band members like 26-year-old Adam Allex of Baltimore, a member of the Class of 2005, it’s a chance to shake off the rust of playing music.
Allex plays the tenor saxophone, which he hasn’t done since college.
“It’s almost like riding a bike,” he said. “Once you know how to play an instrument, it takes a few times to get back used to how to play. You know how to play an instrument because once you know, it’s ingrained in your brain. It’s like reteaching yourself.”
As one of the more recent alumni, Allex said it was interesting to see all the musical eras intersect.
“It’s nice seeing all the different years — people graduated all the way back into the ‘70s,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how we all came together.”
For others, the concert just offers a chance to play and see old friends.
Anna Marie Etzler Linton, 63, of Frederick is playing alto saxophone with her high school sweetheart husband, Larry, who attended Frederick High School until his senior year of 1966-1967, when he transferred to Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.
The couple, who have been married for 42 years, sometimes play together in their church, Trinity United Methodist in Frederick, she said.
Larry primarily plays the clarinet, she said.
“We played in the 75th anniversary concert — I’m not sure we’ll make the next one,” she said with a laugh. “But while we can, we want to do this.”
Linton, who was band president her senior year, said it was about 100 students strong when she was in high school, providing her with an instant circle of friends.
“It was just a really good time in high school,” she said. “... It was really nice to walk in and be part of a group when you’re going from junior high to senior high.”
She said she was glad for an opportunity to practice her skills.
“The one thing band or any music program does for somebody is once you’ve learned it, you take it with you the rest of your life,” she said. “It’s not something you say, ‘Oh I’m too old, I can’t do this.’ It is a lifelong skill.”
The free concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Frederick High School, 650 Carroll Parkway, Frederick.